The Popess: Instructions for Freedom is a dark-comedy solo show, inspired by a female-led 14th century Italian heresy centred around the belief that Guglielma of Bohemia was the second coming of the Holy Spirit. This alone was a stake-worthy conviction, but to make things worse, Guglielma appointed a nun, Maifreda of Pirovano, as her vicar on earth, her Popess. Furthermore, the two mystics announced a new era led by women, in which salvation would be granted to everyone: women as well as men, non christians and christians. After all, if women could be goddesses and popes, no one could be excluded from redemption anymore!
Through the journey of the character of Everywoman -a female version of a medieval Morality Play’s Everyman – in search for the Truth- the show explores the meaning of faith and freedom from the female perspective. A story of women who claimed their own right to a direct relationship with God (or the Goddess) without the mediation of men. Can God be experienced differently for men and women? How is that relevant today?
Cast & Creative Team WRITER and PERFORMER: ELENA MAZZON
Elena Mazzon is a London-based Italian-British actress, writer and voice over artist. She has appeared in several stage and screen productions, including Circular (EdFringe), The Tempest (Steiner Theatre), Killing Eve (BBC), A Dice with five sides (feature), The Overcoat (Short). Elena’s first play, Clara: Sex, Love & Classical Music, was awarded an ACE Grant and toured successfully worldwide (UK, Germany, Italy, America and Australia), before landing at Edinburgh Fringe 2022 at the Award Winning Pianodrome.
DIRECTOR : COLIN WATKEYS
Colin Watkeys, founder and director of the Face to Face Festival of Solo Theatre, has been working with solo performers for the last thirty years, teaching at the Actors Centre and producing and directing all of the solo theatre work of Claire Dowie and the late great Ken Campbell.
Colin has been proudly part of the team from the very beginning, when Elena's first play, Clara, started taking shape in one of his solo theatre workshops.
Colin originally studied Philosophy in London and Japanese Theatre Music and Dance in Tokyo and ran the Finborough Cabaret from 1982 to 1988. He also worked at the Royal Court Theatre for the Young Writers Festival. Despite the loss of the Actors Centre, he continues to nurture future generations of solo performers, directing numerous highly praised productions at the Brighton, Camden and Edinburgh Fringes Colin is obsessed with new writing, writers who perform their own work and the creation of anything in which form serves content.